Mountain Stage Celebrates Mardi Gras at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center on Feb. 15!

by Angela Jones, Marshall Artists Series
Keith Albee Stage at WAM Debut
Keith Albee Stage at WAM Debut
Photo Chris Spencer

HUNTINGTON, WV – West Virginia’s own live radio program, Mountain Stage with Larry Groce, is returning to Huntington with a Mardi Gras themed party.  This live show features the famed New Orleans pianist, Allen Toussaint, jazz guitar great John Pizzarelli, and Americana songstress Caroline Rose - just in time for Fat Tuesday! This live performance will be at the Keith-Albee in Huntington on Sunday, Feb. 15 @ 7:00 p.m.

Founded in 1983 in Charleston, WV, Mountain Stage has transformed public radio with live performances for over 30 years! Each show is recorded in front of a live audience with 3-5 guest artists and broadcast to more than 150 NPR Stations nationwide and internationally via the Voice of America radio. Mountain Stage records 26 shows per year, most generally in the capital city of the founding state at the Culture Center Theatre.

Legendary pianist and composer, Allen Toussaint hails from New Orleans, the original birthplace of jazz. He will bring a masterful touch, precise technical skill and his honey-toned singing voice to this Mardi Gras celebration. Toussaint is a renowned songwriter and producer, who’s celebrated for his distinctively deft and funky feel on the piano - and he is still active after more than fifty years in the business. No fading golden oldie is this piano professor, though many of his successes date back to this time.


The list of musicians who have benefited in one way or another from Allen Toussaint’s touch is staggering in its historic and stylistic range, stretching from the late 1950s to the present day. His studio productions have sold millions of discs and downloads. His catalog of songs has generated hits on the pop, R&B, country and dance charts – and many remain on heavy rotation in various radio formats. And his tunes continue to be used as TV themes and advertising jingles. Toussaint has an ever-growing international circle of fans, and while he is normally reluctant to tour, he has become a more familiar figure at music festivals and popular nightclubs around the world. Toussaint is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has written songs for Glen Campbell, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney just to name a few.


John Pizzarelli, the world-renowned jazz guitarist and singer, was called “Hip with a wink” by Town & Country, “madly creative” by the Los Angeles Times and “the genial genius of the guitar” by The Toronto Star. When he performs with his wife, singer/actress Jessica Molaskey, and his father, guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli, they were labeled “the First Family of Cool” by the San Francisco Chronicle and “the von Trapps on Martinis” by The New Yorker.  According to The New York Times, “the Pizzarelli-Molaskey duo are as good as it gets in any entertainment medium.

He has played with legends like Les Paul, Slam Stewart, and Benny Goodman, and he gives Nat “King” Cole credit as his hero. This will be his fifth appearance on Mountain Stage since 1999, bringing his quartet for a special extended set that will make up the show's second hour.Pizzarelli has appeared on America’s most popular television shows like “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Conan,” and many more. Additionally, he is a constant at New York jazz clubs and cabarets such as Birdland, the Café Carlyle, and Metropolitan Room Manhattan. He continues to tour throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Japan, performing classic pop, jazz and swing, while setting the standard for stylish modern jazz.  

Young Caroline Rose will bring a traveler’s sensibility, rockabilly tunes flavored with country and blues, to this upbeat party. As a young woman who struggled for many years to find herself, Caroline has broken free and captured much attention with her debut “I Will Not Be Afraid.” She describes the 11 songs on the album as “postcards I’ve picked up from along the road,” literally as she tours the country in the van that she also lives in. Nothing can hold back her creativity as she clings tightly to her wanderlust and shapes beautiful melodies with her peaches and molasses voice, singing songs of storm clouds and open skies inside the American heart. Rose says this album is her mantra; “so many people are held back by fear,” she says. “They wish they could do something else with their lives, and they just can’t take the first step. I grew up questioning everything and learned that I needed to be on my own. I needed freedom and I needed to create on my own terms and to keep moving forward without fear, wherever I go.” She has set goals and reached above and beyond, escaping her home town that has become colloquially known as a stop on “heroin highway,” and putting her passion and faith in music.

This Mardi Gras celebration is sure to be a fantastic night of music and fun. The live party, to be aired on NPR Stations internationally at a later date, is the event of the season for generations old and new.

Tickets for Mountain Stage are $29.75. To order tickets call 304-696-6656 or visit  Tickets are also available at the Marshall Artists Series Box Office located in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on Fifth Ave., across from the Marshall University Student Center. Box office hours are Monday-Friday from 12 – 5 p.m.

Mountain stage is sponsored by Reger Funeral Home, Triffecta Productions, Marshall University Office of Multicultural Affairs, KEE 100, Oldies 97.1, WSAZ, the Herald-Dispatch, and Marshall University.

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